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Topic: Gnosticism

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  Definition of Gnosticism
Gnostics were "people who knew", and their knowledge at once constituted them a superior class of beings, whose present and future status was essentially different from that of those who, for whatever reason, did not know.
The Gnostics, it is true, borrowed their terminology almost entirely from existing religions, but they only used it to illustrate their great idea of the essential evil of this present existence and the duty to escape it by the help of magic spells and a superhuman Saviour.
The Gnostics seem also to have used oil sacramentally for the healing of the sick, and even the dead were anointed by them to be rendered safe and invisible in their transit through the realms of the archons.
www.ourladyswarriors.org /dissent/defgnost.htm   (10687 words)

  Gnosticism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Gnosticism is a term used to identify a common belief among various religious movements that likely originated in prehistory and became most active in the first few centuries AD.
Gnostic myth recounts that Sophia (Greek, literally meaning "wisdom"), the Demiurge's mother and a partial aspect of the divine Pleroma or "Fullness", desired to create something apart from the divine totality, and without the receipt of divine assent.
Gnosticism holds that the world is controlled by evil archons, one of whom is the demiurge, the deity of the Old Testament who holds the human spirit captive.
en.wikipedia.org /wiki/Gnosticism   (7552 words)

 Thelemapedia: The Encyclopedia of Thelema & Magick | Gnosticism   (Site not responding. Last check: )
Most Gnostics practiced celibacy and asceticism, on the grounds that the pleasures of the flesh were evil; a few however practiced libertinism, arguing that since the body was evil they should defile it, or that since the body was evil it did not matter what was done with it.
The origins of Gnosticism are a subject of dispute amongst scholars: some think Gnosticism is fundamentally pagan in origin, but has adopted a Christian veneer; others trace its origin to Judaism; yet others think it derives from Jesus, and is a development of his teaching that is arguably as valid as the orthodox one.
He identifies the root of the Gnostic impulse as alienation, that is, a sense of disconnectedness with society and a belief that this lack of concord with society is the result of the inherent disorderliness or even evil of the world.
www.thelemapedia.org /index.php/Gnosticism   (3278 words)

 Overview of Gnosticism   (Site not responding. Last check: )
Gnosticism usually refers to an esoteric cult of divine knowledge (a synthesis of Christianity, Judaism, Greek philosophy, Hinduism, Buddhism, and the mystery cults of the Mediterranean), which flourished during the 2nd and 3rd centuries and was a rival to, and influence on, early Christianity.
Many Gnostics scriptures and other works were written, but until the late 19th and the 20th centuries, none of them were available, except in isolated quotations in the writings of their opponents.
The origins of Gnosticism are a subject of dispute amongst scholars: some think Gnosticism is fundamentally pagan in origin, but has adopted a Christian veneer; others trace its origin to Judaism; yet others think it derives from Jesus, and is a development of his teaching at least as valid as the orthodox one.
www.sullivan-county.com /id2/gnosticism.htm   (3101 words)

This was a period in which Gnosticism came to focus on Gnosis itself, as a goal for Gnostics to reach (Edwards).
However, in Non-Christian Gnosticism it could be Seth (from the Bible), Zostrianos (a form of the prophet from the Persian religion Zoroastrianism), or a mythological entity (Gnosticism).
Hoeller's gnostic "church celebrates the Holy Eucharist every Sunday and Holy Days." (Elwood and Partin: 95) Their ceremonies and vestments are similar to the Roman Catholics, but the language uses Gnostic terminology.
www.meta-religion.com /Esoterism/Gnosticism/gnosticism.htm   (1795 words)

 Gnosticism - Crystalinks
While Gnosticism drew from and influenced in turn many traditional religions, its effect was most clearly felt on nascent Christianity, in which it led to the formation of the canon, creed, and episcopal organization.
In the Gnostic view, the unconscious self of man is consubstantial with the Godhead, but because of a tragic fall it is thrown into a world that is completely alien to its real being.
Gnostic revelation is to be distinguished both from philosophical enlightenment, because it cannot be acquired by the forces of reason, and from Christian revelation, because it is not rooted in history and transmitted by Scripture.
www.crystalinks.com /gnosticism.html   (803 words)

Gnostic salvation is not merely individual redemption of each human soul; it is a cosmic process.
It is the merit of recent scholarship to have proved that Gnostic eschatology, consisting in the soul's struggle with hostile archons in its attempt to reach the Pleroma, is simply the soul's ascent, in Babylonian astrology, through the realms of the seven planets to Anu.
This Gnostic was combatted by Theophilus of Antioch and Tertullian.
www.newadvent.org /cathen/06592a.htm   (10961 words)

 Internet Book of Shadows: Gnosticism
The Gnostics adhered to a belief in strict equality among the members of the sect; going so far as to chose the role of priest by drawing lots among the participates at gnostic gatherings2.
In Gnostic literature, Adam and Eve are seen as heroic figures in their disobedience; aided by the serpent, who gave them knowledge and who will later return in some sects as Jesus, to redeem humanity by teaching disobedience to the curse of the laws of Yahweh the Creator3.
To the Gnostic, the pages of NHL are not to be meant to be taken as the authoritative, apostolic writings of the Christian bible or the prophetic and patristic writings of the Jewish bible, but rather as visions shared with fellow Gnostics.
www.sacred-texts.com /bos/bos167.htm   (5695 words)

 The Gnostic World View: A Brief Summary of Gnosticism
Gnostics have their own -- perhaps quite startling -- view of these matters: they hold that the world is flawed because it was created in a flawed manner.
Gnosticism embraces numerous general attitudes toward life: it encourages non-attachment and non-conformity to the world, a “being in the world, but not of the world”; a lack of egotism; and a respect for the freedom and dignity of other beings.
Gnosticism does not emphasize the doctrine of reincarnation prominently, but it is implicitly understood in most Gnostic teachings that those who have not made effective contact with their transcendental origins while they were in embodiment would have to return into the sorrowful condition of earthly life.
www.webcom.com /~gnosis/gnintro.htm   (3098 words)

 Gnosticism - Theopedia
Gnosticism is a heresy which is made up of a diverse set of beliefs.
Gnostics believed that matter, whether it be the physical universe or the humany body, is evil.
Gnostics believed that human beings were "sparks" or "droplets" of the very same spiritual substance (or essence) that God is. Somehow we we became trapped in our physical bodies from which we are to escape.
www.theopedia.com /Gnosticism   (504 words)

 Gnosticism [Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy]   (Site not responding. Last check: )
Gnosticism (after gnôsis, the Greek word for "knowledge" or "insight") is the name given to a loosely organized religious and philosophical movement that flourished in the first and second centuries CE.
The Gnostics, in their reading of Scripture, acknowledged no such debt; for they believed that the Hebrew Bible was the written revelation of an inferior creator god (dêmiourgos), filled with lies intended to cloud the minds and judgment of the spiritual human beings (pneumatikoi) whom this Demiurge was intent on enslaving in his material cosmos.
The Gnostic Idea or Notion was not informed by a philosophical world-view or procedure; rather, the Gnostic vision of the world was based upon the intuition of a radical and seemingly irreparable rupture between the realm of experience (pathos) and the realm of true Being, i.e., existence in its positive, creative, or authentic aspect.
www.iep.utm.edu /g/gnostic.htm   (8278 words)

One of the main things which separated the Gnostics from orthodox Christians was the mysticism of their beliefs.
The special knowledge which the Gnostics subscribed to was known as "gnois." Gnois was not a logical type of knowledge as one might gain in the study of mathematics or chemistry, but it was an intuitive or reflexive type of knowledge which comes from the study of man's inner self or soul.
The Gnostics took Jesus' answer to his disciple Solame's question, "How long will death reign?" literally when he responded, "As long as you women bear children." Also to disobey the laws of the Demiurge, who was evil himself, was justified to the Gnostics.
www.themystica.com /mystica/articles/g/gnosticism.html   (1389 words)

 Probe Ministries - The Gnostic Matrix   (Site not responding. Last check: )
The popularity of Gnosticism began to decline by the end of the third century and lay largely dormant until the recent discovery of Gnostic texts in Egypt in 1945.
To the Gnostics, Jesus is significant only because of the knowledge he possessed and the example that he set, not for being God in the flesh or for being a sacrifice for sin.
Although female divinities are part of the Gnostic hierarchy of emanations and the New Age journal Gnosis devoted an entire issue to the Goddess movement, the Gnosticism of the early church era was decidedly not feminist.
www.probe.org /content/view/671/77   (2272 words)

Gnosticism is hardly unique among ancestors of orthodox Christianity in having been turned out of the family of Christ’s "true" followers.
The portrait of Gnostics as dangerous counter-Christians, a portrait painted by power and enshrined as truth, held for sixteen hundred years, until 1945, when an archaeological find known as the Nag Hammadi Library was discovered inside a cave in a mountain in upper Egypt.
The first obvious and profound difference between the ancient Gnostic belief system reflected in the story of the Pearl, and the orthodox beliefs of most other Christians, is the proposition that our souls are of divine origin and existed in a divine state before they "fell" to earth.
www.essene.com /EarlyChurch/OrthodoxFromGnostic/The_Wheel.htm   (1722 words)

 Gnosticism: ancient and modern
Gnosticism is not factual, intellectual, rational knowledge, such as is involved in mathematics and physics; that would have been more accurately represented by the Greek world "episteme.
Gnostics believe that they have secret knowledge about God, humanity and the rest of the universe of which the general population was unaware.
Its beliefs are currently experiencing a rebirth throughout the world, triggered in part by the discovery of an ancient Gnostic library at Nag Hammadi, Egypt in the 1940s, and the finding of the Gospel of Judas at El Minya, Egypt, in the 1970s.
www.religioustolerance.org /gnostic.htm   (447 words)

Whichever the case, the error of gnosticism had affected the culture and church of the time and possibly even a earned a mention in 1 John 4.
The word "gnosticism" comes from the Greek word "gnosis" which means "knowledge." There were many groups that were Gnostic and it isn't possible to easily describe the nuances of each variant of Gnostic doctrines.
Since, according to the Gnostics, matter is evil, deliverance from material form was attainable only through special knowledge revealed by special Gnostic teachers.
www.carm.org /heresy/gnosticism.htm   (457 words)

 Religious Movements Homepage: Gnosticism
Another unique aspect of the Gnostic belief system is their view of the creation of the world.
Gnostics also have a different view of the make up of the world.
The Gnostic Society Library links you to the Nag Hammadi Library, their lectures, and material related to Gnosticism located in their library.
religiousmovements.lib.virginia.edu /nrms/gnosticism.html   (2169 words)

 Gnosticism, Philosophy, Religion
Gnosticism in general and the Nag Hammadi texts in particular present a spectrum of beliefs, although a central philosophical core is roughly discernible, which Gnosticism scholar Kurt Rudolph calls "the central myth."[9] Gnosticism teaches that something is desperately wrong with the universe and then delineates the means to explain and rectify the situation.
The Gnostic documents do not present their system as a crypto-psychology (with various cosmic forces representing psychic functions), but as a religious and theological explanation of the origin and operation of the universe.
Gnostic groups did sometimes allow for women's participation in religious activities and several of the emanational beings were seen as feminine.
www.mustardseed.net /html/body_tognosticism.html   (10459 words)

 The Gnosis Archive: Resources on Gnosticism and Gnostic Tradition
Visit the Gnostic Society Library, a comprehensive library of Gnostic scriptures -- including the Nag Hammadi Library -- as well as a large selection of writings and documents relating to the study of Gnosticism.
It is the preeminent “Gnostic Gospel”, a sacred reservoir for the defining essence of Gnostic myth and revelation.
This is the quintessential introduction to Gnostics, Gnosis and Gnosticism.
www.gnosis.org /welcome.html   (2005 words)

 Amazon.com: Gnosticism: New Light on the Ancient Tradition of Inner Knowing: Books: Stephan A. Hoeller   (Site not responding. Last check: )
This authoritative introduction reveals Gnosticism as the indigenous mystical tradition of the West and considers its message to Judeo-Christianity in the twenty-first century.
The author discusses the Gnostic view of the soul and of the divine and manifest worlds, considers the Gnostic Christ as a guide to the sacred mysteries and as Liberator more than Saviour and looks at the concept of Sophia (wisdom) in the Gnostic tradition.
Here, Hoeller very convincingly refutes the claims of certain critics that Gnosticism is similar to nihilism and proves that it is, on the contrary, a very positive and life-affirming worldview that offers hope to the individual in the 21st century.
www.amazon.com /exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0835608166?v=glance   (1447 words)

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